Some Thoughts on Equus

Not being any better acquainted with theater than your average enthusiast, it is rather difficult for me to speak in precise terms about Perro Bravo’s production of Peter Schaffer’s acclaimed 1973 play Equus, which opened two days ago at Act II Entertainment’s Main Stage, Alain Perreault directing. But as a Puerto Vallarta resident, deeply invested in being able to enjoy first-rate performing art events in my own town, I will gladly tell you why I think you will regret not enjoying this fine production during its three-week run.

In my book, some sort of small miracle takes place whenever a play or a concert, a cabaret or dance performance, or any other type of performing arts event, is able to detach your mind and soul from your theater seat, transporting you to the very essence of the event itself, making you oblivious to your surroundings, the theater you’re in, or even the city where you are located. Such was my experience during Equus, a powerful drama that tells the story of a psychiatrist that attempts to treat an adolescent man with a religious obsession with horses.

Many important performers—Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Anthony Perkins and Daniel Radcliffe, to name a few—have been associated with the play’s original London production, it’s subsequent Broadway production (which ran for 1,209 performances), the 1977 film adaptation directed by Sidney Lumet, or the recent Broadway revival. Aware of the responsibility to treat the source material respectfully, not to mention obtaining the proper rights to perform such an important work, director Alain Perreault has followed the play faithfully, including specific staging directions written by Schaffer in the original book.

Meticulous attention was placed in using proper lighting to set specific moods throughout the performance, an aspect that is too often overlooked in local productions. The action is both incredibly intimate (a challenging attempt to engage in sexual intercourse in a stable) and expansive (recollections of a horseback ride along the beach), and proper lighting goes a long way to draw the audience into the drama, melding with the universe performed before you.

The cast, consisting of local and expat actors, was superb all around, delivering strong performances. And actors whose native language is Spanish delivered their performance with credibility and conviction, a testament to the many rehearsal hours that must have been required for the production to come to fruition.

And this, for me, is the one reason why anyone who understands English and is invested in Puerto Vallarta as a performing arts destination, should not think twice about watching Equus during its three-week run: the artistic level in this production simply does not blossom overnight. The cast and crew’s commitment to the director’s vision is palpable, and it may take a while before we are able to enjoy enjoy something like Equus in Puerto Vallarta again. Go see it!


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